Sunday, 25 July 2010

Baldy And The Beast

Whilst I may never have the money or inclination to see all the performances I regularly vow that I'm going to attend I have been seeing steadily more of them in the last few years, mainly by distracting certain parts of my brain with bright colours and sparkling lights until I've already made the bookings and it's too late for them to back out.

It isn't that I don't enjoy live performances and live music - I adore them - but for some reason there's always been a little bit of me that seems to spend all its time checking its watch and wondering when it can get back to doing nothing much or being nowhere in particular.
It is a part of myself that usually makes me quite quite cross and which I am determined not to let rule my life.

So in my latest bout of 'Shut The Heck Up Stupid Pedestrian Loser Lobe' I bought tickets to take my parents to see Bill Bailey and to take my sister and her fiance to see a theatre production of The King and I.

Bill Bailey - Monday 19th of July
No matter how many times I see Bill Bailey*, he always manages to surprise me. He always has fresh material, he revels in audience participation (even when it goes terribly, terribly wrong) and he is a genuine genius with music. He performed Gary Numan's cars on a series of bike horns, his spiderweb like cape of hair flying along behind him as he honked energetically in a way that required both my parents to take their glasses off to wipe away tears of laughter.
Some comedians you get the feeling that secretly they'd quite like you get piss off and that if you don't laugh at an adequate volume they're wishing cancer upon you.
Not only does Bill Bailey not exude a cancer cursing aura, he enjoys himself, he's honest without giving too much of himself away and he constantly plays with you, letting you see that he's smarter than you suspected before lulling you easily back into a goofy grinning daze.
One of the wonderful things about people with multiple genuine passions is that it gives them a lot of material to work with and they're eager to share things with you, sometimes things you'd wish they'd kept to themselves but which you just can't stay angry with them about.
If you get the chance go see him, he's a joy**.

The King & I - Saturday 24th of July
My sister and I have always loved this movie - and admittedly get a little bit starry eyed about Yul Brenner and his flashy impressive wardrobe*** - so when we found out that there was going to be a performance in Melbourne the tickets almost bought themselves. Brother-in-law-to-be knows that marrying my sister bring with it certain responsibilities and is also a bit of a musical chap himself so he was happy to come along.
The amount they manage to do in the confined space of a stage and with props and sets that can be easily moved between and sometimes during scenes will always excite me about the theatre. It doesn't take away from the illusion, it reinforces the creativity and fun of the thing.
Strangely enough I think the one thing they did stay absolutely true to were the King's outfits for each scene which was a nice touch. You don't want people trying to rigidly impersonate a movie to perfection, if you wanted to see that you'd just watch the movie again.
As usual with stage performances based on films****, there were a few songs added to give some of the minor characters more time on stage and to give a bit of a different interpretation. This all had a couple of old dears sitting near us muttering - not as quietly as they thought - "I don't remember this from the movie!" and "They're just funning around, you know directors,".
I have of course had the songs stuck in head for days now but it was worth it.

*OK, this is only the second time live but DVDs and televised comedy showcases count too...

**I was going to write 'cracker' here (an English/Australian term that means good'un, in the same vein as some older folk would use the description 'cracking good time' but have been reliably informed that in the US this is a racial slur that means 'white people' and whilst that is perfectly accurate it might have been a bit confusing that I was insisting it was a reason to attend his performance.

***And washboard abs.

****And suddenly Disney films, now I come to think of it... Stop messing with a classic Disney! Nobody wants to hear 'Human Again'! There's a reason it was left out of the original cut!

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